Thanks for the Trouble
by Tommy Wallach
“Was this story written about me?”
“Yes or no?”
I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty.
“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.
I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote on my palm.
I can’t, I wrote. Then, in tiny letters below it: Now don’t you feel like a jerk?
Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.
From the celebrated author of We All Looked Up comes a unique story of first and last loves.
Tommy Wallach’s books are not only fantastic but they always leave you with some sort of lasting impression – this one even more so. It’s lyrical, sad, heart-warming and enlightening all in one. You will leave this book, in very deep thought about (legit) the meaning of life and how we should live it.
I have to say both characters, Parker and Zelda seemed effortlessly original and vivid. Parker was nonchalant and unmotivated without seeming like a useless jerk. And similarly, Zelda was quirky and cynical without seeming too forced and exaggerated. There are a lot of books out there who try to write characters like these. They’re outcasts among people because of their unique personalities or their cynical attitudes but most of the time they always end up flat or too forced upon us readers like “LOOK AT THESE CHARACTERS! AREN’T THEY WEIRDLY COOL?!”
Fortunately, that did not happen in this book. Parker and Zelda were amazing characters to read about. Their characters were perfectly formed throughout the book. They begin as mystery people that we’re all like “Ooooo, me want to know more,” but then we learn about the circumstances that drove both of them to become who they are. It was all very natural and we were just a long for the ride.
Even the plot itself was natural without being forced. There was a sort of hopeless and lonely atmosphere reading about Parker and Zelda just experience life together. It’s set over the course of about 3 days and a lot of character development happens over the course of those days. They go to a Halloween party, eat A LOT, apply for colleges, talk, write, stuff. I don’t know if you could call their relationship love but their story definitely change the course of each other’s life. Parker begins to find a reason to do something with his life and Zelda comes to terms with a life that she has enough of (because of something a little interesting). Zelda’s little extra something also seemed totally natural to the story line. It wasn’t like a useless filler that tried to just do a blanket explanation of everything but instead, just made sense. It fit with her personality and made the story even more compelling. As you can see, I’m trying to keep it as vague as possible so as to not spoil the book for anyone. Is it working?
Parker’s short stories were also sooooooooo interesting to read about. They were fantastical but humorously written and more than that, they were original and beautifully written. Round of applause for actual literary talent in a character!!!!
In summary, another EXCELLENT, 5 STAR, Tommy Wallach written short novel about growing up, finding independence and the question that we always ask ourselves: what the heck is the meaning of life?